Saturday 24 August 2019

Fit for office - Varadkar reveals his love for running, but crisps are his downfall

Leader of the pack: Leo Varadkar in a 5km run in the capital last year. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Leader of the pack: Leo Varadkar in a 5km run in the capital last year. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Leo Varadkar pictured in 2007
Jane Last

Jane Last

We all know Taoiseach Leo Varadkar likes to exercise regularly. But he has downfalls like the rest of us; namely not getting enough sleep, snacking on crisps and sweets, and a dislike for running in the rain.

Mr Varadkar made the candid admissions to 'Operation Transformation's' fitness expert Karl Henry, on the latter's 'Real Health' podcast.

"I used to be very overweight, I was 114 kilos with a 40-inch waist once upon a time and have managed to improve that over the years," Mr Varadkar said.

He also revealed he trained four times a week, which he considers his 'time-out' as he only concentrates on his work-out during this time, which includes weight-lifting and high intensity training.

"[I train] four times a week, which isn't huge in the greater scheme of things, but as well as that though it's also very flexible because if I'm in a hotel room in Brussels, you know, chances are the hotel has a gym.

"If I'm in London, you're never more than a kilometre from a park. Once you actually make it part of your routine, it's pretty easy.

"And if I don't do it, that's actually when I get kind of stressed because you know ... I'm like a dog that hasn't been taken out for a walk for days."

He claimed he didn't consider himself an "early riser" and would "get up at a normal kind of time for anyone who lives in 'commuter land' ... so maybe 6.30am or 6.45am".

He told Henry he would be in the gym or running by 7am, finished by 8am and be ready for his first appointment by "nine-ish".

Weekends are different as he gets a "little bit of extra sleep". He says he only goes running when the weather is good as "I don't like being rained on".

Quizzed about winding down at the end of the day, and if he is able to get some sleep, he said he doesn't get enough.

"I don't find it hard to get asleep. I'm quite tired at the end of a long day. It's always possible to bore yourself to sleep with a memo on something very technical," he joked.

"I probably don't get enough sleep though, but that's just the nature of the game." He told Henry he got between five and six hours' sleep a night.

He also admitted that he struggled to stick to a healthy diet thanks to his schedule, and often snacks on crisps and sweets. However, he said he has given up alcohol for Lent.

For more episodes and information from Karl Henry's 'Real Health' podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, go to: https://www.independent.ie/podcasts/the-real-health-podcast/.

Irish Independent

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